Review: Loco Music Player
If there's one category of application that really shouldn't need to exist, it's music playback, since every computing platform includes this functionality out of the box. However, time spent with music, as well as ways of indexing and accessing it, is a very personal thing and there are a number of third party music player for Windows Phone and Windows 10 Mobile, each attempting to add their own 'spin' (pun intended) on the genre. In this case, Loco Music Player, with a wide choice of themes and lightning fast track indexing.
Opening up to a professional set of tutorial screens, Loco Music immediately impresses, with an affinity for dark themes and AMOLED screens, thankfully, as I was reviewing this on the Lumia 1020. The interface is centred around lists and full-screen artwork and it's only one tap, as shown, to toggle between the two.
Getting going, I wondered what I had to do in order to get Loco Music Player to index all the music I had loaded into the 1020 - I headed for Artists and was most surprised to find that almost all of it was already there, i.e. within a matter of seconds. After a few seconds more a message popped up confirming that everything had been found - I didn't time it, but it was a lot less than a minute, which is impressive considering that Microsoft's (Groove, née XBox) Music application can take up to half an hour to do the same job (as it uses a background agent).
Playback is either via playlist, i.e. you manually tag albums and tracks for addition and then set it running, or by simply tapping on tracks directly, in which case playback carries on throughout the album. It suits me, since the latter is very much how I like to listen (being an old fogey!)
The two main views, then, showing full width cover art very prettily and then as a thumbnail with the tracks around the current one in context. The volume slider on the right hand screen is mimicked on the cover art view with a pinch on the screen, by the way, so you have full control of playback in either.
As the name perhaps implies (is 'Loco' a reference to 'Local'?), the strength here is in playback of music files on your phone, though there's a link through to OneDrive too, the idea being that you can browse through your Cloud collection and pick off a handful of items for local caching - there's no concept of streaming here, as with Microsoft's Groove Music, but that's OK since OneDrive access here is very much an ancillary function.
You'll have noticed the neon green colouring in the screenshots - I liked it, but if it's not to your taste then there are over a dozen different themes to be picked and enjoyed. Something for everyone, I think, though the dark, neon themes did work beautifully on the AMOLED-screened 1020.
Extra functions include a sleep timer (shown below, left) and a comprehensive alpha-sorted set of indexes, by song, album, artist and genre (e.g. below, right). 'Symphonic Prog', eh? Sounds grand! It's all derived from the ID3 information in your music tracks, of course.
Ultimately though, Loco Music Player is about presenting your music attractively and reliably. And indeed it is... both. Even when the core application is pushed out of RAM, you can still play tracks and skip to the next in a sequence. And when you do interrupt Loco Music Player, even by shutting down the phone and restarting, it carries on at the same point in the same track when you go back into the application, which is impressive.
(You may be wondering why the little headphones icon, top left, is pointing in different directions in each of the screenshots above - that's because it rotates all the while music is playing - it's a nice touch and the animated icon also acts as a shortcut to the main 'Add to playlist' menu.)
Loco Music Player is also fully Windows 10 Mobile-ready, so I'll probably be giving this more of a spin on the Lumia 930 in due course - AMOLED again! But the choice of themes means that even those with LCD-screened phones can find something they find attractive and efficient.
You really shouldn't need Loco Music Player, or any of the other third party players - but each of them does seem to offer something new, in terms of interface or speed, so why the heck not - more choice is always welcome, and the applications don't seem to get in each others' way so you can have more than one loaded, accessing the same music library/folders.
Loco Music Player is commercial at £1 or so, but the cost is trivial so, if you like what you see in the screenshots then give it a go.
Reviewed by Steve Litchfield at